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Gaming linked to cybersecurity success, report finds

April 6, 2018

If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably heard the lecture before: What are you doing with your life? You're wasting your time playing computer games when you could be studying or making career plans.

Gaming Cyber

For those planning a career in cybersecurity, though, a new report from McAfee has encouraging news: as the cybersecurity field grapples with escalating threats and shortages of qualified personnel, a gaming background is widely seen as an asset.

 McAfee surveyed 300 senior security managers and 650 security professionals in the United States and six other countries, with the aim of tapping their views on security challenges and how best to meet them.

The respondents were practically unanimous (92%) in their view that “gaming affords players experience and skills critical to cybersecurity threat hunting: logic, perseverance, an understanding of how to approach adversaries and a fresh outlook compared to traditional cybersecurity hires,” McAfee said.

In addition, 78% said those who have grown up playing video games are stronger candidates for cybersecurity roles, compared to traditional hires.

“Gamers, those engaged and immersed in online competitions, may be the logical next step to plugging the [cybersecurity skills] gap,” the report concluded.

While the report provides useful hard numbers, the findings won’t come as a surprise to cybersecurity educators. Schools with strong cybersecurity programs, such as Capitol Technology University, have long incorporated gaming techniques into their curriculum.

Indeed, a game-based approach is central to Capitol’s popular Cyber Saturdays program, designed to help attract high school and community college students to the cybersecurity field and help build a pipeline of talent.

Held several times a year, these Saturday events offer participants an opportunity to learn cybersecurity fundamentals in a fast-paced game environment. The events teach real skills but are also designed to be fun. Activities typically include challenges such as Cyber Laser Tag, Cyber Treasure Hunt, Virtual Lock Picking, and Capture the Flag.

“These events increase awareness and then they get students interested in the [cybersecurity] profession,” says Dr. William Butler, chair of the Cybersecurity program at Capitol.

 So go ahead and sharpen those gaming skills – they may be helping your career in the long run! If you’re in high school or community college, check out one of our upcoming Cyber Saturday events, including our unique Brain-Machine Interface workshop. For more information, contact the cybersecurity program at cybersat@captechu.edu.

We’ll see you in the biome!